Heiwai Tang

Heiwai Tang

Associate Professor of International Economics
International Economics

1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 709, Washington, DC 20036


  • Asia
  • Culture and Economic Development
  • Economic Development
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Globalization
  • Labor Economics and Outsourcing
  • International Economics
  • Multinational Corporations
  • Chinese (Mandarin)

Background and Education

Heiwai Tang is Associate Professor of International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Research Fellow of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Center of Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESIfo) in Germany, as well as the Globalization and Economic Policy Center in the U.K. He has been a consultant to the World BankInternational Finance CorporationUnited Nations, and Asian Development Bank, and held visiting positions at Stanford UniversityMITHarvard University, the IMF, and RIETI. He is on the editorial boards of Journal of Comparative Economics and China Economic Review.

Tang received his Ph.D. in economics from MIT. His research interests span a wide range of theoretical and empirical topics in international trade, covering topics such as how offshoring affects the domestic buyer-supplier networks; how firms learn from their neighbors to export; how China successfully moved up the global value chains; and how trade and foreign direct investment enhance firms' and thus aggregate productivity. His research has been published in leading journals in economics, including American Economic ReviewJournal of International EconomicsJournal of Development Economics, and Journal of Law and Economics. He has also written articles for Financial TimesForeign Policy, the Brookings Institution, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Please check his personal website for the most updated links to the following papers.

Working Papers

Global Sourcing and Domestic Production Networks, with Taiji Furusawa, Tomohiko Inui and Keiko Ito (2017)

Fast Fashion, with Ana Fernandes (2017)

Production Networks, Trade and Misallocation with Pravin Krishna (Aug 2017)

The Domestic Segment of Global Value Chains in China, with Fei Wang and Zhi Wang (2017)

Relational Contracts in Global Sourcing: Evidence from the United States, with Fariha Kamal (2017)

Quality Differentiation and Trade Intermediation, with Yifan Zhang (2014)
R&R - Journal of International Economics

Do Multinationals Transfer Culture? Evidence on Female Employment in China, with Yifan Zhang (2017)

Do Information and Communication Technologies Empower Female Workers? Firm Evidence from Vietnam​ with Natalie Chun (2017)

Refereed Journal Articles
(All papers are for individual or academic use only. All copyrights belong to the publishers.)

Domestic Value Added in Exports: Theory and Firm Evidence from China
American Economic Review, 106(6), June 2016, pp. 1402-1436. with Hiau Looi Kee

Why is China Investing in Africa? Evidence from the Firm Level
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming, with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar

Are Foreign Firms Favored in China? Firm-level Evidence on the Collection of Value Added Tax​
Journal of International Business Policy, Inaugural Issue, forthcoming, with Yasheng Huang

Scale, Scope, and Trade Dynamics of Export Processing Plants
Economics Letters, 133, Aug 2015, pp. 68-72. with Ana Fernandes

Learning to Export from Neighbors
Journal of International Economics, 94(1), Sep 2014, pp. 87-94. with Ana Fernandes

Factor Intensity, Product Switching, and Productivity: Evidence from Chinese Exporters
Journal of International Economics, 92(2), March 2014, pp. 349–362. with Yue Ma and Yifan Zhang 

The Dragon is Flying West: Micro-level Evidence of Chinese Outward Direct Investment
Asian Development Review, 31(2), Sep 2014, pp. 109-140. with Wenjie Chen
[VoxEU Column: The Dragon Soars: Micro Evidence on Chinese Outward Direct Investment]

International Politics and Import Diversification
Journal of Law and Economics, 56(4), Nov 2013, pp. 1091-1121. with Sergei Mityakov and Kevin Tsui
Companion Paper: Geopolitics, Global Patterns of Oil Trade, and China’s Oil Security Quest

Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China
Journal of Development Economics, 99(2), Nov 2012, pp. 396–414. with Ana Fernandes

Labor Market Institutions, Firm-specific Skills, and Trade Patterns
Journal of International Economics, 87(2), July 2012, pp. 337–351. 

Exchange Rates and the Margins of Trade: Evidence from Chinese Exporters
CESIfo Economic Studies, 58(4), Dec 2012, pp. 671-702. with Yifan Zhang

Book Chapters, Special Issues, etc.

​Trade Patterns and Dynamics of Processing Exporters: Evidence from China
in New Development in Global Sourcing, 2016, MIT Press.

​Investment Renaissance
IMF Finance and Development, Dec 2015. with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar

Review: WTO's World Trade Report 2013 "Factors Shaping the Future of World Trade"
World Trade Review, 13, Oct 2014, pp. 733-735.

FDI Policies in China and India: Evidence from Firm Surveys
World Economy, 35(1), 2012, pp. 91-105. with Yasheng Huang


It’s No Accident That China’s Tycoons Are Bad Investors
Foreign Policy, Oct 2017. with Chris Beddor

Rise of the Redback: Internationalizing the Chinese Renminbi
The Diplomat, Sep 2017. with David Landry

Why China is Curbing Outbound Direct Investment 
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Aug 2017. with Zixuan Huang

​Sanctions on North Korea pose little risk to Kim Jong Un’s regime
Financial Times, Aug 2017. with David Landry

How did China Move Up the Global Value Chains?
VoxChina, Aug 2017. with Hiau Looi Kee

Trade and FDI liberalization help China move up the global value chains
CEPR VoxEU, Dec 2015. with Hiau Looi Kee.
Chinese investment in Africa is more diverse and welcome than you think
​Quartz, Sep 2015. with Wenjie Chen
[the Conversation] [Chinese] [French] [German] [Japanese] [Portuguese]
​China’s direct investment in Africa: Reality versus myth
Brookings Institution, Sep 2015 with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar
How similar is Chinese investment in Africa to the West’s?
Brookings Institution, Aug 2015 with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar

The Dragon Soars: Micro Evidence on Chinese Outward Direct Investment
CEPR VoxEU, Sep 2014. with Wenjie Chen

2016-10-08 00:00:00 
Fall 2013 
Microeconomics ...
Microeconomics is our entry-level graduate course intended to start you on your way to analyzing economic phenomena on your own. Students will learn how consumers, workers, and firms make decisions while interacting with one another efficiently through markets. They will also learn about the different ways that markets can fail and some possible ways to correct these market failures. A central goal of this course is for students to understand the effects of incentives on the behaviour of these agents and thereby on economic welfare. Topics include: • Consumer choice and demand • Production and cost • Firms and market structure • Economic policy and social welfare • Market failure Together with Macroeconomics, it constitutes the foundation for all other economics courses at SAIS. The course is taught at the intermediate level and uses graphs, algebra, and some differential calculus. Microeconomics is built up cumulatively. Do not skip class or textbook readings; lectures often serve as the foundation for subsequent lectures.